Filing for an Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Alabama
Deciding to get a divorce is an emotional, complex process that can be difficult to navigate. In the state of Alabama, there are two types of divorce: uncontested and contested. Read on to find out the difference between them and how to go about filing for each one.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree on all issues pertaining to their divorce, such as division of assets and debts, alimony or “spousal support” if applicable, child custody and visitation arrangements, and child support payments. All decisions made will be included in a legally-binding settlement agreement, which will become part of the final divorce decree.
Filing an uncontested divorce is much simpler than filing a contested one. Its cost is usually lower as well since there is no need for attorneys to argue over every aspect of the divorce in court; instead, both parties sign off on whatever has been agreed upon outside of court. The process also takes less time given its relative simplicity compared to a contested divorce — from start to finish it may take anywhere from 30–60 days depending on your county’s policies and procedures.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is when either party does not agree with the terms stated by both sides. This could be over any number of issues including but not limited to who gets primary custody of the children or who should be liable for certain debts or assets post-divorce. In these cases, it’s best to seek legal counsel as you may end up in court arguing your case against your former spouse while being represented by a local Prattville divorce attorney. This can take longer than an uncontested divorce and typically costs more due to legal fees associated with having someone represent your side during proceedings. But if you believe that something was agreed upon unfairly or you would like specific terms included in your settlement agreement (such as spousal support), then it might be worth the investment into taking this route.
How Do I File For Divorce in Alabama?
Both parties must file separate petitions (or complaints) with the clerk’s office in their county’s circuit court stating why they are seeking a dissolution of marriage/divorce (grounds for divorce). Grounds for both types include incompatibility (no fault) as well as desertion, adultery or abuse by either party (fault). Once filed, it takes anywhere from 4–6 weeks for all paperwork processing before a hearing date can be set – these dates vary based on county schedules so make sure to ask ahead of time so you don’t miss out!
After filing papers at least one partner must serve them to the other – do not skip this step even if both spouses want an uncontested separation! If everything goes according to plan then both sides will come together at their hearing ready with settlement agreements already drafted up based on what had been discussed beforehand; if not then prepare yourself mentally and financially as contested divorces tend to require more time & money spent in order to get matters resolved correctly through legal channels.
In conclusion, selecting whether you want a contested or uncontested divorce depends completely upon each couple’s individual situation — some couples are able to reach friendly agreements while others prefer having lawyers litigate every detail during court proceedings; whichever route chosen ensure that enough research has been done first so that everyone involved knows exactly what they’re getting into from start until finish! Good luck!